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Politics SolarWinds hack targeted nearly 2 dozen federal prosecutors offices, including some of the most influential in the country like the Eastern District of New York

04:00  01 august  2021
04:00  01 august  2021 Source:   businessinsider.com

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image captionNew York 's four prosecutors had their offices hacked . Nearly 30 top US prosecutors had their office 's email accounts hacked during a major breach last year, the Justice Department says. The attack on users of the software SolarWinds - which the US has blamed on Russia - was the worst-ever Those hit by the breach include 80% of Microsoft email accounts used by employees at the four New York 's attorney offices - which handle some of the most prominent prosecutions in the country . "There are very sensitive investigations going on within those offices ," former federal prosecutor

That timeframe is notable because the SolarWinds attack, named for the company which made the affected product and which infiltrated dozens of companies and think tanks as well as at least nine government agencies, was discovered and publicized in mid-December. In April, the Biden administration announced sanctions, including the expulsion of diplomats, in response to SolarWinds and Russian interference in the 2020 US election. The list of affected district attorneys included high-profile offices in Los Angeles, Miami, Washington and the eastern district of Virginia.

a sign on the side of a building: REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst © REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst REUTERS / Jonathan Ernst
  • The emails of federal prosecutors' offices around the country were hacked by Russian intelligence during the SolarWinds cyber attack.
  • The Russian hackers had access to the emails of federal prosecutors in New York, California, DC and other jurisdictions from May to December 2020.
  • The Justice Department released the update to "increase transparency" with the public as it continues to investigate the hacking.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Federal US prosecutors were among targets of the Russian hackers behind the 2020 SolarWinds cyber attack, the Justice Department said on Friday.

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REVEALED: Russian hackers accessed email accounts of 27 top federal prosecutors during SolarWinds cyber attack - including district which indicted Ghislaine Maxwell - potentially stealing names of secret informants. The department said 80 percent of Microsoft email accounts used by employees in the four U.S. Attorney offices in New York were breached. These offices handle some of the most prominent criminal cases in the country . The Southern District of New York , for instances, is currently prosecuting the case against Jeffrey Epstein's alleged madam Ghislaine Maxwell.

The Southern and Eastern Districts of New York , where large numbers of staff were hit, handle some of the most prominent prosecutors in the country . “ New York is the financial center of the world and those districts are particularly well known for investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and other cases, including investigating people close to the former president,” said Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham Law School and a former prosecutor in the Southern District . The department said all victims had been notified and it is working to mitigate “operational, security and privacy risks”

According to the update, the SolarWinds hackers breached the Department's Microsoft O365 email accounts, which included the mailboxes of federal prosecutors from New York, Los Angeles, and prominent offices in 13 other states.

At least one employee email at each of the affected district offices was hacked, and at least 80% of employees in the four major US attorneys' New York district offices -- the Eastern, Southern, Western and Northern -- had their accounts hacked, the DOJ said. Hackers gained access to all sent, received, and stored emails and attachments in those accounts, though it is unclear which information the hackers took.

"New York is the financial center of the world and those districts are particularly well known for investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and other cases, including investigating people close to the former president," Bruce Green, a Fordham Law School professor, told the Associated Press.

Justice Department says Russians hacked federal prosecutors

  Justice Department says Russians hacked federal prosecutors WASHINGTON (AP) — The Russian hackers behind the massive SolarWinds cyberespionage campaign broke into the email accounts some of the most prominent federal prosecutors’ offices around the country last year, the Justice Department said Friday. The department said 80% of Microsoft email accounts used by employees in the four U.S. attorney offices in New York were breached. All told, the Justice Department said 27 U.S. Attorney offices had at least one employee's email account compromised during the hacking campaign. The Justice Department said in a statement that it believes the accounts were compromised from May 7 to Dec. 27, 2020.

The Justice Department said Friday that the hackers behind the major SolarWinds hack compromised employee accounts in over two dozen federal prosecutors ’ offices . The hack , which was first discovered in December, involved Russian hackers exploiting software from IT group SolarWinds to gain access to about 18,000 customers, compromising nine federal agencies and 100 private-sector groups. The incident is believed to be one of the largest cyber espionage attacks in U.S. history.

The Southern and Eastern Districts of New York , where large numbers of staff were hit, handle some of the most prominent prosecutors in the country . " New York is the financial centre of the world and those districts are particularly well known for investigating and prosecuting white-collar crimes and other cases, including investigating people close to the former president," said Bruce Green, a professor at Fordham Law School and a former prosecutor in the Southern District . The department said all victims had been notified and it is working to mitigate "operational, security and privacy risks"


Video: U.S., Allies Link Microsoft Hack to Chinese Government (Bloomberg)

US federal investigators said Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) was responsible for installing malicious malware into SolarWinds' Orion software in 2020. The US information technology firm has more than 300,000 clients, including US government agencies and the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies.

The group is believed to have had access to the emails from May to December of last year.

After learning these accounts were hacked, the Department's Office of the Chief Information Officer cut off the channel the hackers used to the Microsoft Office accounts, notified the affected parties and the public, and is continuing to monitor the security risks associated with the hack.

The Justice Department released the update to "encourage transparency and strengthen homeland resilience," and so that others can "use that information to prepare themselves for the next threat," the updated statement said.

The US Department of Justice could not be reached at the time of publication.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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This is interesting!